No-shows are not only a hot button topic for restaurants in the U.S., they also affect Canadian operators to the point where owners are outing them on Twitter. On Monday, Eater Montreal reported that Danny Van Dam, maître d'hôtel at Tapeo in the city's Villeray neighborhood, complained about 28 no-shows on a single night. For a restaurant with about 90 seats, that represents a third of the dining room. That same night, this past Saturday, another prominent restaurant, La Salle à Manger, had 31 no-shows. Restaurants in Montreal have grown increasingly bitter about not just the loss of revenue, but the absence of respect. A small contingent of owners is looking for a solution.
Yesterday Eater Montreal spoke with Dominique Tremblay of l'Association des restaurateurs du Québec (ARQ) about potential solutions to the no-show problem. The ARQ recommends that restaurants like Tapeo try to prevent the issue by taking credit card numbers along with each reservation. Though placing a charge on the card in the event of a no-show (as is sometimes done in the States) is illegal in Quebec, the hope is that diners who leave a credit card number will think twice before not showing up for their reservation. Tremblay's bottom line? "...the customer has to understand they have a responsibility. There are consequences when they don't show up, whether it's a table for two or a big group."
Some restaurants in Montreal are now turning to Twitter to "out" no-show diners. No-Shows Montreal (via CBC News) is an active Twitter account (in French) with vague information and partial phone numbers of diners who don't show for their reservations. Though the Twitter account may have been inspired by what happened to several restaurateurs this past weekend, it is not affiliated with Tapeo or any one particular restaurant, says Eater Montreal editor Ian Harrison.
L.A.'s Red Medicine, a restaurant co-owned by Umami Burger founder Adam Fleischman, used this method last year, but it's not a solution that the ARQ recommends or one that Tapeo's owners, is willing to consider.
· ARQ Spox On No-Shows, Credit Cards and More [Eater Montreal]
· Restaurants Use Twitter to Shame No-Shows [CBC via @ElizabethonFood]
· LA Restaurant Outs No-Shows on Twitter [-E-]
· All No-Show Coverage on Eater [-E-]